Feeling the Outrage

by Jean Houston

I, like so many others, spent the day glued to my television in total disbelief, watching repeated footage of a commercial airliner penetrating the second tower of the world trade center.

I felt outrage.

I saw clips from leaders all over the world expressing horror and offering condolences; even diplomats from Afghanistan and Cuba expressed their condemnation of terrorism.

I felt outrage.

Then, I saw footage of celebration. Rifles shots sent to the heavens. Jubilant children -- no more than five or six years old -- cheering in the streets, waving Palestinian flags; open glee at the death of countless thousands civilians.

I felt outrage.

And then I began to wonder. What unimaginable string of events would have to occur for me to become so desperate, so frustrated that I would willingly participate in such an unthinkable act? Then I remembered the exultant children, bred from birth to hate.

And I, feeling more and more outrage, became increasingly concerned, shuddering at the power, the amplitude of energy that commanded my thoughts with visions of revenge. Brilliant surgical strikes. I imagined directing laser death rays from orbiting satellites into the hearts of Osama Bin Laden and his hate-mongering mignons.

I had stepped well across the line, reaffirming righteous indignation as the most dangerous energy on this planet. It is the fuel of the fanatic, the fundamentalist and the environmentalist alike -- those who would kill for Peace, for God, for the spotted owl, for the disenfranchised fetuses of the world unable to give voice to their own need. They are our champions! They willingly fight and die for us. They are the purest product of our level of consciousness.

In building this realm of experience, we have created a deliciously dualistic model that cannot coexist with Peace. Ours was never intended to be an illusion of harmony. It is far too rich for that. It offers the spice of towering emotional highs offset by unfathomable depressions. Peace is our carrot, dangled enticingly just beyond our ken. Peace is our reward, our graduation gift for making it through to the other side of the veil.

We can rise above our differences, preach tolerance and achieve detente. But not Peace. So long as we distinguish ourselves with labels of identity we remain in the lower grades. So long as there is US and THEM; Israeli and Palestinian; haves and have-nots we can forget Peace. We simply aren't ready.

Perhaps these events beg a simple question: Who am I?
Am I my gender? My religion? My assets? My intelligence? My charisma or sex appeal? Am I my intentions, my thoughts and deeds? Am I consciousness, a spark of the Divine?
Whatever happened to our belief that we are all ONE?
Who is the flag-waving child, if not I? Who is the blinded, desperate fanatic prepared to die to teach us all an indelible lesson, if not I? Am I not the fireman risking and giving my life to move into harm's way? Are not the words of Islamic Jihad official Nafez Azzam, "What happened in the United States today is a consequence of American policies in this region," my words. It is I who train and arm all terrorists. I finance them and send them forth, young men to die long before their allotted time has passed. It is I who fans the flames of hatred, who writes the manifestos and speaks before trembling masses. Just as it is I who mourns our collective insensitivities and longs for quiet walks on the beach, hand in hand with my Beloved. I am all these.
And more.

We are asked to pray and so we should. For prayer -- true prayer -- is powerful beyond measure. Go to your mosque or church or temple if you must. But for once, please do not go as a Moslem or Christian, Jew, Hindu or Buddhist. Go rather as a child, unencumbered by belief, free of predetermined dogma. Go simply to pray -- not for peace or understanding, not for perpetrator or victim nor for the leaders who are entrusted with charting our nation's path through these dangerous waters -- but simply to pray.

Be willing to forsake a familiar Psalm or the intervention of a devoted Teacher, Master or Lord. Forego even the comfort of angels and visions of God. For once, trust enough to pray, not with your mind, but with your heart. Practice the wordless, unconditional outpouring that comes not from you, but through you. Allow yourself to become an instrument of pure Being!
Peace is such a glorious prize. Perhaps, if we master the art of knowing less, we will all find our way home someday.

Jean Houston

Reprinted under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright
law (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html).
All copyrights belong to original publisher.


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